13 reasons pets are surrendered, animal rescue, pets are not products, holidays and animals, animal surrender, pet Christmas gift

It seems obvious to state but animals are living, breathing beings. Which means, they require the same necessities of life that their human best friends require: food, shelter, love, health. Still, thousands of animals are surrendered to rescue organizations every year in Canada because the people who bought them were ill-prepared to care for them.

Although some animals are surrendered due to real, unforeseen, and uncontrollable circumstances, like the death of an owner, a child developing a severe allergy, or severe behavioural issues, most surrenders are paired with outrageous and downright heartbreaking excuses.

These are a few that we’ve heard recently:

  • “I didn’t realize he was going to get so big. His collar is too small.”
  • “The cat is a freeloader. It just sleeps all day.”
  • “We have a white couch and the cat’s black hair sticks to it.”
  • “I didn’t know how much work it would be. It’s a lot of work.”
  • “She’s afraid to get in the car. It’s annoying.”
  • “We’re retiring and the cat doesn’t match our lifestyle any more.”
  • “My new girlfriend doesn’t like the dog.”
  • “The old dog doesn’t get along with the new dog. So can you take the old dog?”
  • “We’re replacing the floor in the house and we don’t want the new floor to get scratched.”
  • “We just landscaped the backyard and we don’t want the dog to ruin the grass.”
  • “It was a gift for our son but he’s bored of it.”
  • “The puppy doesn’t answer to his name.”
  • “This dog follows me everywhere. I can’t stand it following me all the time.”

Pets are hard work. And they’re NOT disposable.

Pets take time. They cost money. They can be messy. They can be stinky. They can be playful and adorable. They make mistakes. They impress. And they are loyal to the very last beats of their hearts to those who give them love. Owning a pet can be (and is) one of life’s most enriching experiences. That said, you have to be ready, selfless, and committed. Owning a pet is a long-term commitment.

Help us keep animals out of shelters. Donate to support the Pets Are Not Products campaign to end the retail sale of animals. And, if you or anyone you know is thinking of buying an animal, please ask yourself Is this best for the animal?—then consider these 10 things.

Why we care: Meet our Founder & Executive Director Kathy Powelson

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Kathy Powelson is the founder and executive director of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation. Her vision six years ago was to create an entity that would act as an umbrella organization to existing agencies and groups working so hard to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals, and educate and advocate on behalf of animals in British Columbia. With a background in the social services sector and community development, Kathy was well positioned to create the framework to begin this work and is very proud of the achievements made to date.

I believe strongly in the power of community and, in order to do effective and sustainable work, you must work directly in the community” she says. “There’s a lot of amazing work being done on behalf of animals, but it’s often piecemeal and most often groups are only able to respond to crises.

As such, Kathy works hard to find ways to help support the animal-welfare community through events that include keynote speakers and workshops that address things like capacity building (including a recent grant-writing workshop). She is also very excited about the development of Paws for Hope’s Animal Welfare Advisory Network, the purpose of which is to enable organizations throughout B.C. to work together to fund and implement regional and/or provincial strategies to address challenges associated with pet abandonment, abuse and overpopulation. Much of this work will be possible thanks to multi year funding from the Vancouver Foundation.

This holiday season, Kathy would like to thank our sponsors for their assistance in furthering Paws for Hope’s vision. Our organization relies on gifts from generous donors like yourself to continue its work. As a registered charity, every donation made to Paws for Hope will receive a tax receipt. Please consider making a donation today.

Why we care: meet Health Clinic Coordinator Tanya Jamieson

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Tanya Jamieson’s love for animals was the reason she pursued a career in the veterinary field. Having completed Granville Business College’s veterinary office assistant program in 2000, Tanya went to work for a clinic in Squamish for five years before joining Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital as a receptionist, where she has remained for more than a decade. As Paws for Hope’s animal health clinic coordinator, she gets to see first-hand how far your dollars go toward helping people and their pets.

I get to experience how grateful most of the people truly are,” she says, pointing to programs like SpayAid BC, where partnerships are made with veterinary hospitals to eliminate pet overpopulation across the province by providing spay/neuter assistance to low-income earners, with each partner hospital providing a 33 percent discount and the remaining cost is split evenly between Paws for Hope and the SpayAid BC recipient. “Their pets are truly a blessing and, for a lot of people, have helped them emotionally through very difficult situations.”

Eevee is a happy and health patient of our SpayAid BC program

This holiday season, will you help us continue to help pets and their guardians throughout British Columbia? As a registered charity, every donation made to Paws for Hope will receive a tax receipt. Please consider making a donation today.


Every year, pet stores in Canada sell thousands of pets—dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.—that are inevitably gifted with bright red bows to shrieking children, significant others, and unsuspecting family members and friends. Approximately 70% of these living and breathing gifts are surrendered to shelters, given away to other people, or abandoned shortly after the holiday season. It’s a sad epidemic. Once the reality sets in that pets aren’t a novelty but rather living beings that require love, attention, and money to survive, many people feel overwhelmed, even trapped, and try to offload them. In some cases, these “gifts” were given to someone who didn’t even want them.

Before you purchase an animal, consider these facts:

1. It costs (a lot of) money to take care of an animal for a lifetime.
When you choose to become a pet guardian, you make a commitment to a living creature—and it’s more than just to love and play fetch. You make a financial commitment, too.

According to PetFinder, the average cost of caring for a dog is between $766-$10,350 in the first year and then $536-$9532 for every year after that. This includes food, vet bills, vaccinations, bedding, toys, boarding while on vacation, training, dental cleaning, grooming, fencing, treats, and accessories like collars, leashes, water bowls, etc.

2. The best relationships are ones with an emotional connection.
Sometimes, we think of pets as interchangeable. A dog is a dog is a dog. A cat is a cat is a cat. Not true. It’s very important when choosing an animal to love that you (or the person you’re gifting them to) meet them first. Animals, like humans, have personalities. Finding a fit with an animal is just as important as finding a fit with a human mate. Essentially, you’ve got to like each other. The human-animal bond is a big deal—for both parties. That bond can’t be forced. It has to be felt.

Instead, consider gifting an adoption kit. A bunch of toys, a collar, some treats. And when the time is right, the recipient can go to a local shelter and/or animal rescue, meet the animals, and find true love. On their terms.

3. The holidays are a crazy time; crazy times are not ideal for adding furry family members.
The holidays see hoards of people come and go. Dinners. Get-togethers. Parties. Road trips. It’s loud. It’s messy. And it’s rare to find anyone who actually has the time to help a new puppy, kitten, or bunny adjust to its new surroundings. Which means: the new pet is a stressed pet. And this stress can be permanently imprinted and create ongoing trauma and trust issues.

New animals in any home at any time of year require extra attention, socialization, and bonding. Christmas is not the time—for animals or humans—to make this happen.

Help Paws For Hope spread the #PetsAreNotProducts message.
Most people don’t’ know that when you purchase an animal, you support breeding mills. Instead, take the pledge to never purchase an animal again, then buy your friends and family some Paws For Hope T-shirts to support rescue animals or donate to help us end the retails sale of animals altogether.

Why we care: meet Board Director Rhianydd Bellis

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Rhianydd Bellis has been passionate about animals since she was a child. “When I was younger I was always advocating for one animal welfare issue or another,” she says. “I volunteered at the local vet clinic and, at any given time, my family had an assortment of domestic pets and sick or injured wildlife. The animals in my care ranged from a cat and two dogs to a tarantula and my beloved crow, Molly.”

Years later, Rhianydd remains passionate about advancing animal welfare in B.C., and credits her rescue dog, Tessa, for rekindling her commitment to this issue.

Watching Tessa transform from a skinny, traumatized orphan into a healthy, happy dog has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she says. “Tessa got a second chance, but it breaks my heart to know there are countless animals in our community who are equally deserving but not as lucky. Tessa has inspired me to work to improve the lives of those less-fortunate animals as much as possible.”


As a result, Rhianydd joined the Paws for Hope team in 2016. Through her role as a board director, she is able to put her principles and passion for animals into action, providing support and working on programs and projects that advance a sustainable approach to animal welfare in B.C. This holiday season, she wants to thank our sponsors for their assistance in furthering the organization’s vision.
Paws for Hope relies on gifts from generous donors like yourself to continue its work. As a registered charity, every donation made to Paws for Hope will receive a tax receipt. Please consider making a donation today.

Why we care: a message from Board Director Noa Nichol

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Noa Nichol, a writer and editor, has been working in Canadian print and online media – including such pet-focused publications as Modern Dog and Modern Cat magazines – for more than 15 years. In 2016, while on maternity leave from her editor role at Vancouver-based Glacier Media, she launched a website, Adopteez, which gives responsible shelters and rescue groups additional communications tools, free of charge, with which to network animals seeking adoption. Joining the Paws for Hope board of directors this past fall has given her further opportunity to make a real difference to a cause that’s close to her heart, and she looks forward to supporting the organization’s work, helping to strengthen and empower the existing animal welfare and support system in place within B.C., in 2017 and beyond.

One example of the important work being done by Paws for Hope is the creation of a provincial Animal Welfare Advisory Network, meant to enable organizations across British Columbia to work together to fund and implement strategies that address challenges associated with pet abandonment, abuse and overpopulation (this following Paws for Hope’s 2016 “A Snapshot of Companion Animal Welfare in B.C.” report and a subsequent stakeholders meeting). The strides that can be made via a strong partnership between animal welfare and rescue organizations will serve to create a more sustainable and accountable animal welfare system in B.C.

Will you make a difference, as well? Paws for Hope relies on gifts from generous donors like yourself to continue its work. As a registered charity, every donation made to Paws for Hope will receive a tax receipt. Please consider making a donation today.


Why We Care: A message from Board President, Dr. Shawn Llewellyn

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


This holiday season, we want to introduce you to the people who make everything we do possible and give them an opportunity to share with you, our wonderful supporter, what connects them to the work we do. As you consider your end of year donation, we want you to see the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes to improve the lives of animals here in BC.

Dr. Shawn Llewellyn, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation board president and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s 2016 Humane Award recipient, is an advocate of the human-animal bond. Through the foundation’s work in partnership with community agencies in the Lower Mainland and across British Columbia that support vulnerable populations, as well as youth-services organizations that assist homeless and at-risk youth, Dr. Llewellyn sees first-hand the important role pets play in the lives of some of society’s most-marginalized members.

Take, for example, the 53 animals – including 36 cats, 16 dogs and a rabbit – that were brought in by their low- or no-income owners to receive free physical examinations, vaccinations and parasite-control treatments at Paws for Hope’s latest pet-health clinic, held in early November. Dr. Llewellyn, who provided many of these services along with a supporting volunteer health-clinic team, says, “Our work supporting homeless and low-income pet guardians helps to create healthier communities. When pets can get the veterinary care they need they can remain living with their people, helping to improve their owners’ emotional and mental health and keeping pets out of the shelter.

Our work is possible because of your support,” he adds. “Your donations make a difference in lives of companion animals.”

As a registered charity, every donation made to Paws for Hope will receive a tax receipt. Please consider making a donation today.




Did you know that???

    Dog fighting is not a federal crime
    Federal animal cruelty laws requires proof that the accused intended to harm or kill an animal
    Bestiality is only an federal offence if penetration was part of the act
    “While the House of Commons has passed new animal cruelty legislation three times, those bills either got caught up in prorogues or were blocked by the Senate before they made it past the finish line” (see Bill C-246 Will Close Animal Cruelty Loopholes for more details)

Given the many barriers animal advocates have historically faced in getting their voices heard in government, it is not surprising that the goal of the first e-petition set out to ban the use and sale of shock collars for pets.
Hailed as an easy way for everyday Canadians to participate in the democratic process, the introduction of House of Common e-petitions created a lot of excitement and optimism towards the ability to create change. The response, however, begs the question of how seriously will government take the matters brought to parliament through this process. They are, after all, a reflection of the peoples’ voice.

Having received the required number of signatures to make its way into parliament, the issue expressed in the petition was presented to the House of Commons for discussion and a response was tabled on April 11, 2016.

In what appears to be common practice among all levels of government in responding to animal welfare issues, the Federal government abdicated their responsibility in the protection and promotion of animal welfare and claimed that the “investigation and prosecution of where conduct, such as the use of shock collars, is the responsibility of the provinces and territories” (See complete response here).

The argument that animal welfare is a provincial and territorial responsibility is constitutionally inaccurate. If that were the case, there would not be provisions in the Criminal Code that specifically set out to protect animals and punish animal abusers. In addition, as Bill C-246 (Modernizing Animal Protection Act) makes its way through parliament, it is very concerning that our Minister of Justice and Attorney General is on record as not only stating the current federal laws are adequate, but also, that the provinces and territories “can make laws that protect and promote animal welfare”.

We find ourselves in a conundrum. Federal animal protection laws have not changed since they were enacted in 1892. In response to this antiquated approach to animal welfare, and in an attempt to protect animals, provinces and territories across the country have created stronger legislation. In fact BC has some of the toughest legislation protecting animals in the country. As a result, there are very few cases prosecuted under the Criminal Code, which means those that are charged and convicted provincially will not receive a criminal record. In addition, any restrictions placed on them as part of their conviction, such as the ability to have animals in their care, does not apply outside of the province they were charged. So if an individual is charged in BC for operating a puppy mill, there is nothing stopping them from moving to another province and setting up another mill. As eloquently articulated by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, “It is absurd to have a federal Criminal Code that is so inadequate that it has become virtually obsolete due to much stronger provincial acts in many regions.”

Despite our nation’s love for animals, Canada’s response to animal welfare is far behind many developed countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The greatest irony is that because of stronger provincial legislation, the federal government’s response to motions for stronger federal laws, is that they are not necessary because provincial governments have taken responsibility. But we can not let them off the hook.

It is 2016. It is time for a change. Take Action Your voice matters.

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation is a BC animal welfare charity dedicated to creating sustainable animal welfare and purposeful animal protection in British Columbia.
Our work is possible because of your support. Your donations make a difference in lives of companion animals.

Volunteer Board Member – Paws for Hope Animal Foundation

Posted by: admin Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Paws for Hope Animal Foundation is a Vancouver based registered, charitable non-for-profit organization established in 2011 in response to the unsustainable animal support system for companion animals within British Columbia.

Paws for Hope is committed to the establishment of a more sustainable approach to animal welfare issues within the province and works closely with partners and others in the field to build such sustainability and accountability. Paws for Hope offers many services and programs to support the homeless and low-income with the care of their pets, while also supporting the work of community-based animal rescue and support groups throughout the province and raising awareness of animal welfare issues through education campaigns.

The Board will support the work of Paws for Hope and provide community leadership and strategic governance. While the Foundation’s Executive Director and Program Managers lead day-to-day operations, the Board-ED relationship is a partnership, and the involvement of the Board is both critical and expected.

Specific Board Member responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Leadership, governance and oversight
– Serving as a trusted and devoted advisor to the ED with the development and implementation of the Foundation’s strategic plan.
– Attend monthly Board meetings and review agenda and supporting materials prior to meetings.
– Approving Paws for Hope’s annual budget, audit reports and making decisions on the Foundation’s operations and direction.
– Assisting the ED and Board Chair in recruiting other Board Members and/or committed volunteers.
– Serving on committees or specific task forces.
– Representing Paws for Hope to stakeholders and the community at large; acting as an ambassador for the organization.

Board Members are expected to consider Paws for Hope a philanthropic priority and to make annual contributions to the Foundation in addition to their volunteer services. Fund development is a high priority for the Foundation, and Board Members are often asked to assist in fundraising efforts, volunteer at events representing the Foundation, and/or meet with stakeholders and community representatives.

Board terms
Paws for Hope’s Board Members will serve a two-year term to be eligible for re-appointment with Board and membership approval. Board meetings are held every two months typically on a Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. Participation in regular email correspondence is expected. Committee meetings take place through email correspondence or as required via teleconference if in person meetings are not possible. Annual General Meetings are held the end of September and Board Members are expected to be in attendance.

Application Process:

Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:
– Professionalism and experience in law, fund development, accounting/finance, communications and/or animal welfare/rescue and rehabilitation.
– A commitment to and understanding of animal welfare and the community members Paws for Hope serves through its programs and services.
– An agreeable personality with the goal of building consensus and facilitating respectful discussion among diverse individuals.
– A passion for improving the lives of animals and a belief in and understanding of the human-animal bond and how it pertains to those we serve.

Resume and Cover Letter
Please submit a detailed summary of your experiences and qualifications, along with a letter highlighting your interest in Paws for Hope and how you skill sets will best serve the Foundation and those we strive to serve within our community.
Please submit all documentation to Paws for Hope’s Board President, Dr. Shawn Llewellyn, by July 31st via email to



Canadians have been waiting a long time for better animal protection laws. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies notes that “Canada remains in the Victorian era with a federal animal cruelty law that was introduced in 1892”. Bill C-246, Modernizing Animal Protections Act has made it past the second reading in Parliament and there is still much work to be done to get this critical legislation passed into law. The significance Bill C-246 cannot be overstated and is long overdue.

As articulated by Dr. Sara Dubois,

The bill could ban shark fin importation, the importation of cat and dog fur and make changes to the Criminal Code of Canada that could help the BC SPCA and other animal welfare societies across Canada bring justice to those who abuse, neglect and abandon companion, farm and wild animals.

Bill C-246 has been introduced as a private members bill, and similar private members bills to improve Canada’s antiquated animal protection laws have been introduced and have failed. This is why your voice is so important. It is critical that your MP knows that this bill is important to his or her constituents. Email, regular mail or a request for an in person meeting to let them know why they MUST support this bill.

To find your MP click here.

Farm and companion animals across the country are depending on us to be their voice. Let’s get this right!

Cat with mic

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation is a BC animal welfare charity dedicated to creating sustainable animal welfare and purposeful animal protection in British Columbia.
Our work is possible because of your support. Your donations make a difference in lives of companion animals.